In a candid personal essay, former NBA star Ben Gordon opens up about his struggles with his mental health in the hopes to help others like him.
Writing on his experiences for the Players’ Tribune on life after his NBA career came to an end, he opened up on having suicidal thoughts.
"Who was Gentle Ben? Who am I? And that’s when I started disassociating myself completely from Ben Gordon. I was convinced that I was a clone. That this body I’m in is not my real body. It can’t be."
Ben Gordon opens up about his mental health.https://t.co/7A6SWAPpMT
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) February 21, 2020
“Where Is My Mind?” opens with the heaviness of his battle: “There was a point in time when I thought about killing myself every single day for about six weeks.”
“I would be up on the roof of my apartment building at four o’clock in the morning, just pacing to the edge of the ledge, looking over – pacing back and forth, back and forth – just thinking, I’m really about to do it, B. I’m about to escape from al this sh–.”
Gordon admits to feeling helpless after leaving the league and felt “manic-depressive” and dealt with severe panic attacks. As a result, he suffered from sleepless nights and once commented to a friend that he felt like a “dead man walking.”
“I had lost my career, my identity, and my family all pretty much simultaneously,” he said. “I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t sleeping.”
He opened about his arrests and a judge sentenced him to court-mandated therapy for 18 months, which he said helped him to process his personal traumas.
“The goal doesn’t have to be perfection. It can just be peace and acceptance with yourself,” Gordon says in the essay.
He adds: “I’m not perpetually crazy. I had a moment. I got help for that moment. I got to know myself from that moment. And I’m still working through some things, no doubt. There’s still some trauma I dealt with that I’m not ready to tell to the world about yet.”
People shared their support and gratitude to the NBA player for sharing his experiences with mental health.
Folks…read this. This hit me. I know Ben Gordon. THIS BG he’s referring to. The vulnerability in this is…chilling https://t.co/aWKtxi2W0F
— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) February 21, 2020
Coaches: Powerful stuff right here. I keep telling young coaches that you need to learn about mental health. It’s the next frontier & more important than the X & O’s. https://t.co/m1KTGcTF3e
— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) February 21, 2020
Ben Gordon out here saving lives. 🙏 Help is available. 1-800-273-8255.https://t.co/lOfSZjEn2w
— J.E. Skeets (@jeskeets) February 21, 2020
“There was a point in time when I thought about killing myself every single day for about six weeks.”
I hope every single person takes a moment tonight to read this emotional piece from Ben Gordon.
Be kind to each other.https://t.co/Y3ynps8H9t
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) February 21, 2020
The Players’ Tribune is a media company founded by Derek Jeter that provides athletes the platform to connect with fans with stories in their own words and insight on the world of sports.